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Dead and Deader

By March 18, 2024March 21st, 2024Blog
Graphic of Tally titled Dead and Deader with artistic photos of skulls and dried flora in background.


We are nearing the finish line of session with two huge cutoffs this week. Monday was the cutoff for bills passing through the opposite chamber’s fiscal committees and Ways & Means became a morgue with corpses of good policy littering the committee room floor. Friday will be opposite chamber cutoff and any bills that make it past that point will be put through concurrence before they head to the Governor’s desk.

Meanwhile, leadership has begun an aggressive Cross-My-Heart-Hope-to-Die-Double-Pinkie-Swear-Trust-Us campaign, holding hearings on three of the six right-wing Let’s Go Washington initiatives. The rumor mill says they’ll likely pass all three into law with the expectation that lawmakers will revise these policies as written as soon as they are able. Our sources say that’s 90 days after Sine Die, which would be June 5th. Sure, Jan.

The good news is the Keep Our Care Act is still alive and there are lots of good bills surviving this brutal, bloody session. Scroll for some final updates on our bills and our weekly scream of vitriol about Ways & Means.


⚰️ Dying, Dead, and Done ⚰️


In four years of writing The Tally we’ve never had every single one of our bills die, but there’s a first for everything, unfortunately. This session our biggest nemesis was the Ways & Means Committee to no one’s surprise but everyone’s disappointment. W&M is the graveyard for good bills.

We asked abolish the senate? before but now we’re saying it

  • Our State Senate is a more conservative body than our House with members who are disproportionately white, wealthy and already adjacent to power when they come into office
  • Ways & Means is a microcosm of the Senate floor where Democrats are in charge but hobbled by conservatives in their caucus who consistently do the wrong thing

Leadership is gonna leadership (poorly)

  • New W&M chair Senator June Robinson (D-38) really let us down this session even after we put her name into a Beatles song. That hurts, June.
    • Sen. Robinson and W&M Vice Chair Senator Joe Nguyen (D-34) signed on early to the Wealth Tax as cosponsors but didn’t bring the bill for a vote this session
    • Replacing former Senator Christine Rolfes (D-23) as W&M Chair offered Sen. Robinson a real opportunity to serve Washington state but she watched the pitch fly by, bat in hand, and now Washington residents will pay the price
  • Senate leadership made a lot of behind-the-scenes tactical maneuvers this session to keep rent stabilization alive but it wasn’t enough.
    • HB 2114 was swung around the Housing Committee to avoid Senator Annette Cleveland (D-49), an admission that she is a problem but are too scared to address directly
    • Consistent legislative pressure worked — to a point. It led to Sen. Van De Wege signing on as a cosponsor of rent stabilization only to withhold support later. We were duped by these moves this session, too

Committee structure kills bills

  • The Tally practices naming our opposition and the responsible parties when a bill dies
    • Last session we spent a whole Tally naming them
    • It’s important to also name that the committee structure itself makes Ways & Means a slaughterhouse for good bills
      • 24/49 Senators sit on W&M
      • 14 are Democrats, 10 are Republicans
      • 4 vote majority means two or three conservative Democrats can kill any bill they want
    • We desperately wanted new committee leadership to be enough to shake things up in W&M but we need different butts in those seats.
      • If we want to pass the progressive revenue policies we need to fund programs and services, we need more progressive tax revenue champions on W&M
      • If leadership really means it when they tell our communities they’re fighting for us, they have to stack W&M differently

We put a lot on the line this session and we all fought hard for what our communities need from lawmakers. Don’t let up the pressure in the final days of session especially for the bills that have survived. We’re not checked out and you shouldn’t be either.

Remember what we said last week: it’s okay to grieve. You matter. This work matters. Thank you.

Same time next week? 🫂


What do you think? Have any questions? Tweet us your thoughts @WACommAlliance.
Keep up on the action and opportunities to get involved through our legislative newsletter, The Tally.